For smart marketers, social media is a tool, not a destination. When it comes to marketing online, using social media to find and engage with your audience is truly a no-brainer today. It’s vital that you don’t get tied up with using a specific social media and stick to that no matter what. Use the social media platforms that your audience uses and be ready to leave an underperforming platform.
Use social media as a tool to promote what’s on your website, not as a standalone platform. When you realize that social media is simply a tool just like Google Ads, SEO, and content marketing, it suddenly becomes a lot simpler to see these platforms for what they are – a way to reach your audience, nothing more.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the ways that you can use social media to find your customers and promote to them.
- How to Find Your Audience
- How to Engage Effectively with Your Audience
- How to Conduct Keyword Research
- How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Make an Impact
And a little about joint ventures and how you can combine that with your affiliate program to make an even more significant impact and reach even more of your audience. As you read through the ideas here, take notes so that you can implement the ideas.
After all, the only way to succeed with any idea is to try it out. When you take trying it out a step farther by documenting your results, you’ll get even more out of it. Let’s get started.
Finding your target audience on social media so that you can engage with them is probably one of the most effective ways you can help your audience get to know you.
You know that people only want to buy from those that they feel as if they know, like, and trust – engaging on social media is one of the ways you can spread brand awareness, develop a following, build your email list, and influence your audience.
But first, to engage more, you must find them. To find your audience on social media, you’ll need to do a deep dive into discovering who your ideal customer is. Once you figure that out, you’ll have an easier time finding them and engaging and communicating with them via social media.
- Create Audience Personas or Avatars – Go through your ideal customer’s buying cycle and your product funnel so you can create avatars for the person in your audience who needs the solutions you offer. You’ll want to create different avatars for each step of the buying cycle, and for each solution that you market.
- Look at Your Current Customer Data – If you already have customers, look at your data before you start to create audience personas. This data will let you know some critical information about the demographics of your audience.
- Study Your Competition’s Social Media Followers – One way to find more audience members is to check who is following your competitors. Who are they and what do they want? Why are they following that company or person?
- Survey Your Known Users Regularly – Send out surveys to your customers and your audience regularly. You can send just one question, or you can go more in-depth. When you do send a survey, incentivize them by rewarding them for doing it and make it short and easy.
- Mind Your Metrics – Use the tools available to you to look at your data. That may be inside the social media platform that you’re using, such as Facebook Insights, and your Twitter Dashboard. All social platforms offer data regarding your activity and your audience. You can also use Google Analytics for this, of course.
- Monitor Social Media Activity – Use social listening tools like Google Alerts, automation software like Hootsuite with its Hootsuite Insights, Brandmentions.com, socialsprout.com, and others work great to help you monitor when you are mentioned online so you can go there and contribute to the conversation.
- Keep Tabs on the Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing Efforts – When you publish content on your blog, you can use the data that you gather to find out how your viewers found the content, which is going to help you ensure that the keywords you choose work.
- Ask for Feedback Often – Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback after every single transaction from your customers. That feedback will inform you of new information about your audience, plus it might shine some light on unique keywords and topics for content marketing.
- Engage Regularly with Your Social Media Followers – Just following or getting followers on social media is not enough. You also need to communicate regularly with your social media followers. When they respond to you or ask questions, use that information to help you get to know your social media audience better.
Use social media content that is directed toward your ideal audience to get to know them more, encourage engagement, and to talk about topics of interest to them. When you talk about what they need to know and want to know, you’ll automatically attract more of your ideal audience. Once you get them to follow you, now it’s time to encourage engagement.
How to Increase Your Social Media Engagement
Once you find out where your audience hangs out online, and start getting them to follow you, now you need to make sure you are getting them to engage with you. The more your audience engages with you, the more likely they are to make purchases from your recommendations.
Set Goals Based on the Metric You Want to Track
The very first thing you need to do is set the right goals on the metrics you want to track. When you can track something with data, it’ll be more accurate than if you try to guess. Plus, the added advantage is that when you act on the right data, your actions make a more significant impact.
Social Media Metrics to Track
Here is a list of social metrics you can track easily using your social media backend or dashboard to see the metrics.
- Shares (retweets too)
Know Your Audience
Of course, you need to understand who your audience is. Your audience consists of the people who need and want your solutions or the solutions you recommend that others have created. Anyone else is not your audience. Try to appeal only to that ideal audience, and you’ll make more sales and get more engagement.
Create and Share Relevant, Useful, and Valuable Content
If you want engagement, you’ll have to share the right content that really gets their attention. If it fits in with your niche and gives them answers to their questions, it should fit in fine with their intent for looking at your information.
The content that you share can include gated downloadable content like PDFs, checklists, and so forth, but you can also include user-generated content such as testimonials, case studies, and more. If it’s relevant, useful, and valuable to your ideal audience, it will work.
Be Both Proactive and Reactive with Your Communication Tactics
You want to not only plan content for your social media platforms, but you want to prepare to react to your audience’s reactions. Set aside time each day for checking your social media accounts for responses that you can respond to, share, and engage with.
Schedule, Automate, Consolidate
When you look at the work, you need to find ways to keep a good schedule. Use automation when you can and consolidate the process by batching work together. For example, schedule 30 social media posts using hootsuite.com or other content automation so that they go out automatically. Also, if you test out a platform and it’s not working, stop using that social media platform and focus on where your audience is.
Use the Tools of The Trade
Don’t skimp on the tools of the trade that are available to make your life a lot easier. Not only that, but you’ll also be far more effective if you invest in your business and use tools that help you put out quality social media posts and updates that are worthy of engagement.
- Photo Editing Tools – You can use software like Canva to create amazing graphics for your social media posts. You can also outsource this to a graphic designer too. If you want to find a graphic designer that isn’t going to break the bank, ask your community who they use to get some ideas.
- Create and Use GIFS – One way to get attention on social media today is to use funny or entertaining GIFS. A GIF moves and draws attention due to the movement of the image. You can create your own and get more engagement due to that.
- Social Media Automation – One of the best things you can do is to use social media automation software. You might want to investigate using something like hootsuite.com or socialsprout.com, which can help you manage your social media better. The cost for the fully functional versions is more than worth it if you use it.
Mind Your Metrics
Inside the social media platform software that you use, there are metrics you can see, such as likes, shares, follows, clicks, and so forth. Those are all important to track and measure. You can also install Google Analytics to get even more insights into your audience’s behaviour. There are other paid options as well that you investigate for your needs.
Collaborate with Others
Find influencers and others (like friends and family) to work with to share your content and help encourage others to engage with you too. Birds of a feather-like to flock together, as they say, so if you can get friends (or paid influencers) to help by making comments and sharing, you can get it started.
Don’t just post random stuff and reply. Plan your updates based on the promotions you plan to make in the future. Do things that cause buzz like hosting contests, calling out and featuring a successful customer, and so forth. You can also go “live,” host a Q and A, gives some behind the scenes information, and get feedback using social media.
Be Authentic, Honest, and Human
It’s easy to get carried away with automation on social media, so be careful. You still need to be responsive personally on your social media. Be honest, act like a human and not a robot, and show yourself.
People like to shop with, interact with, and be around people that they feel as if they know, like, and trust. You can use your social media platforms to advance those goals that you set by tracking your numbers and trying new things to get the results you desire. One way to ensure that you’re using the right methods to reach your audience is to conduct keyword research specific to your audience.
Keywords are still an essential component of your overall content marketing strategy. Keywords not only give you content ideas, but they help you identify where your customer is in their decision-making process, including their intent when they search to start with.
After all, customer intent is one of the most vital bits of information you need to know to create the right content, products, and services at the right time. When you know your customer’s intent, you can deliver precisely what they want and need at the right time.
You need to know what your customers are asking or think they are asking when they type in a search term or phrase so that you can determine if the person asking that question is really your ideal customer or not. If so, those terms and phrases will inform the content that you create and share on social media.
Keyword research helps you compile potential variations of every search term that your audience might use to find specific types of information. But, as mentioned, you must figure out what their intent is so that you can answer the questions they ask correctly.
Some systems that will help you find keywords and keyword phrases are:
- UberSuggest — This offering by Neil Patel is a great choice to help you find more keywords and keyword phrases by typing in your domain. You can use a competitor’s website or your own to find keywords so you can grow your SEO traffic but also so you can pick the right topics to share and engage with on social media.
- Google Keyword Planner – You can only access this tool if you sign up for Google AdWords now, but you must do this even if you don’t think you want to run Google Ads yet. After all, Google is still the number one search engine.
- Google’s Suggested Searches – When you type in anything in Google Search, it starts to suggest searches for you. Check out the words used, and the links offered to find out if it does give information that your audience will want.
- Ispionage – This is an excellent service that you can use to research your competitor’s keyword usage by “spying” on them. When you type in your competition’s URL, you’ll receive some fantastic information that you can use to create more content that your audience wants and needs.
- Competitor’s Top Performing Content – Sign up for your competition’s newsletters and get on their list. What terms are they using in their blog posts, email content, headlines, sub-headlines, and subject lines? All this information can help you figure out what keywords and keyword phrases your audience is using to find the info they want.
When you decide between keywords, you’ll do better if you choose relevantly, low competition, high-interest keywords. This means that according to the software you choose to use to find the keywords, the keywords don’t have tons of people (especially corporations) bidding on them because this makes them more expensive. This is important whether you are going to run ads or not because this information also lets you know which keywords you’ll get more results from.
Your audience needs to be interested, but you don’t have to find the most used or most expensive keyword choice to be successful. In fact, the less competitive keywords will produce more results for you.
As long as the audience is interested in the subject, and is using the words and phrases in big enough numbers for your needs, it’ll do wonders for you to choose the low-competition, yet high-interest keywords and keyword phrases to drive your content marketing efforts on social media and elsewhere.
To Find Effective Keywords:
Know Your Competition
Get out a spreadsheet and list your main competition. You want to try to find at least two or three main competitors who have enough content and customers to give you lots of ideas.
Know Your Customers
The best way to ensure that you’re speaking to the right customer with your content is to study your ideal audience carefully. You should be able to create audience personas throughout the buying cycle.
Know Your Solutions
Make a list of every product and service that you offer regularly. Do you have seasonal products and services, or do you offer the same thing all the time? Include your own products as well as any affiliate products you regularly promote.
Know Your Business Objectives
As always, when you know what your goals are, and can quantify those goals— so that you can check the data— to ensure that what you think is supposed to happen based on your actions is really happening. Never assume.
Know Whether Location Is Important or Not
In some cases, your location is particularly important to your content marketing efforts on social media. In other cases, it’s not as important. If it is important, you’ll need to localize your keyword search.
Brainstorm a List of Keywords You Believe Are Correct
Start with your own mind and what you know about your audience, your goals, and your solutions. Just brainstorm as many keywords and keyword phrases as you can on a list. You can use one of the services to check the keywords to find out if they’ll work or not.
Talk to your employees, staff, contractors, buyers, creators, and so forth (anyone with an interest or stake in the results) to find out what they search for and want to know about the topic from you.
Check Related Websites
Of course, always check any related sites for ideas about topics and keywords that you can use to inform your content marketing and social media sharing.
Use a Service
We talked about the different services you can use to find and rate your keywords, such as Google Ad Words, but there are many more like SEMRUSH and sites like Reddit, Quora, Answerthepublic, keywordseverywhere, that can all help you with your research to find the right keywords.
Install Search on Your Website or Blog
An effective way to find good keywords that you know your audience is using is to install Google Search on your website. Once you do, you’ll have insight into what they search for right on your site.
Record in A Spreadsheet
You’ll want to use a spreadsheet to record everything. You’ll want to organize the spreadsheet so that you can prioritize and know how much competition a keyword has. Plus, you’ll need to know the intent the searcher has when using that word or phrase.
It also indicates whether the keywords are transactional, navigational, or informational in nature. As always, please note whether the word or phrase falls into your customer’s buying journey from awareness to delight.
As you go through keywords, always seek to match searcher intent and to the right personas. The more keywords you can find, the better for your content marketing efforts. But you can start with finding about 200 to 1000 keywords and keyword phrases that you can use to create content, products, and services.
To Create Content from Keywords and Phrases:
When using keywords, you should have them organized in terms of whether they’re primary keywords, secondary, or additional keywords. A primary keyword is the focus of the content, the secondary keywords consist of corresponding keywords to the main one, and additional keywords are simply related to both.
- Put Keywords in Your Meta Descriptions – To add keywords to your meta description, you can use software like Yoast SEO to help you if you use self-hosted WordPress as your content management system. Other systems also have ways to enter info to your meta description. This is what searchers see in Google Searches first.
- Add Keywords to Your SEO Title Tags – Every single page of your site needs a unique title, which means each page should showcase a different keyword. Make sure they are not too long, are descriptive and compelling enough to get clicks.
- Put Keywords in the Content/Article Title – Your content and article title need to consist of the keywords you want to rank for within the first three words in the title. Ensure that your titles aren’t too long for search results to show up correctly. You can preview your choices if you use software like Yoast SEO.
- Use the Keywords Within the First 150 Words – When you start creating the content under the title within the first paragraph, you need to use the keywords again. It’s best if it’s before the 200th word someplace around the 150th word to gain an advantage.
- Remember to Use Stop Words When Needed – Search engine stop words are controversial. Some people will say don’t use them at all. But, if you use these words to make any of the search phrases make more sense in your titles and in the content when needed, it’ll be fine, and it will even help your content be more readable to humans.
But to create and write content using the keywords that you discover has more to it than these technical things. You also want to create content that is interesting, compelling, and actionable for your customers. The above is just how you technically use the keywords. To create amazing content with the keywords that you discover, it’ll take a little bit more work.
Don’t Overuse Keywords
One problem with keywords is that sometimes marketers mistakenly think that more is better. The truth is, it matters more what your content reads like than how many keywords it has in it. It can help to use a plugin like Yoast SEO to analyse your keyword usage. You want to ensure that you only use the main keyword you’re trying to rank for 2 per cent of the time, but no more.
Be Natural About Your Keywords in the Content
Regardless of any other keyword advice, it’s always best to use your keywords in a natural way. Don’t include keyword phrases that are spelled wrong or inaccurate just to include keywords that people search for.
Ensure Your Content is Readable
The content you create needs to be easily consumable and readable by your audience. If it’s too stuffed with keywords or not organized well with the online reader in mind, it’ll be hard for them to understand it. For example, people who read online read in an F pattern, usually scanning up and down, then to the right. You can use heatmaps to find out how your audience reads your site so that you can optimize your content.
Create Long-Form Blog Posts
Even though you are using this information to beef up your social media marketing, the truth is, you’re going to be sharing what’s on your blog on social media. You want to use social media to push more traffic to your websites, landing pages, and blogs and the way to do that is to produce long-form blog posts and articles that are interesting to your audience. You can then condense that information into an infographic, sharing the infographic on social media with a link to the rest of the data.
Using keywords strategically is a crucial factor in ensuring that you reach your ideal customer, whether on social media or your website. After all, everything really starts on your site, and you use social media platforms to promote what’s on your website. That means what’s on your website is the most important thing to start with. Your social media marketing is just an extension of what you’re already doing. Social media marketing is another tool at your disposal to get the word out.
One of the most fun things about using social media marketing and online marketing is the fact that you can leverage other people’s efforts to increase your results.
Just like you can use private label rights content to beef up your content marketing, build products, and develop services around, you can use JV Partnerships along with affiliate marketing to get more done with less work. Let’s first talk about using affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing can benefit you in two ways:
- Become an Affiliate of Other People’s Products and Services
- Start Your Own Affiliate Program to Get Help Marketing Your Products and Services
Let’s explore both options and how it can work for you, focusing mostly on starting your own affiliate program so that you can attract joint venture partners later.
Promoting Other People’s Products
To promote other people’s products, all you need to do is find the products your audience needs and wants, based on your current product and marketing funnel. Go through your funnel and map the products and services you are promoting throughout your customers’ buying journey.
If you see gaps look for affiliate products. Add them to your product funnel so that you can now promote these products seamlessly along with the products and services you’ve created on your own. For example, if you notice through mapping your content, products, and information that you don’t have enough freebies for awareness, look for some good affiliate offers that you can add that help.
Choose no more than ten affiliate products that you can promote throughout the buying journey. Set up easy to remember redirects so that if the creator changes anything about their program, you only must update the redirect files and not search for every instance of the link.
Look for affiliate programs that offer a fair commission rate, offer lifetime cookies, and that pays out regularly despite how many sales you make. For most digital products, 50 per cent or higher commission is typical but for one-on-one personalized services, the commission rate will usually be less than 20% due to the time factor involved.
Join programs that offer a lot of marketing materials that you can use and don’t have a ton of rules about which keywords you can use in your promotions. You want to be able to promote these products without worrying about the rules as much. Ideally, the creator has made your job “cut and paste” easy. It’s nice to be able to go into the affiliate dashboard and grab art, content, and information that you can paste right into your email messages or blog post.
Additionally, take the time to check up on every single product you want to promote. Buy products from the creator. Sign up for their email lists. Join their communities. Engage with them so that you know they’ll take good care of the customers you send their way.
When you take the time to source amazing products for your audience that you don’t create, they’ll start to see you as an industry leader and even a thought leader. After all, you seem to have your hand on the pulse of the niche because you pay attention to what your audience needs and wants and what is out there for them. Trying the products ensures that your customers don’t get scammed and that you can be proud of promoting it.
Once you experience other people’s affiliate programs and you have a few products to promote. You can start your own affiliate program taking the best knowledge from the vendors you’ve joined to then make yours better. After all, it’s likely that many of the affiliate programs you join are really your competitors.
How to Set Up Your Affiliate Program: Getting Other People to Promote Your Products
To start your own affiliate program, you must understand that your audience for the affiliate program is entirely different from your audience that buys your products and uses your services. These people will most likely become your competition, and that’s perfectly okay.
In fact, it’s incredible because they promote to an audience that is like yours. To set up an affiliate program, you’ll want to ensure that you use the right tools of the trade and provide enough marketing collateral to your affiliates while also encouraging and motivating them toward more sales. Of course, that all starts with finding the right affiliates.
Find the Right Affiliates
Focus on the type of people you want to work with so that you can create the right environment for them. The type of affiliates you want will inform the rest of the choices you make from the software you choose, to the products you choose, to how much marketing material you give them, and what format it’s in.
Get the Right Software
To run your own affiliate program, you will need software that automatically provides the unique link for the affiliate as well as keeps track for you of sales. Depending on the situation and your state, you may be responsible for reporting tax information and other things. You can check your state by looking at the info on TaxJar.com for your state.
Some software that is great for this is Amember.com. Amember.com is a software you install yourself on your host. It manages everything from signing up affiliates to communicating with them regarding sales and so forth. Each affiliate receives a back-office area or dashboard area with all the information, links, and marketing materials at their fingertips.
Use an Affiliate Network
Another way to get started fast without having to worry about your state’s tax information or maybe even sales taxes is to use an affiliate network. The network pays your affiliates (and manages them), and you simply receive your cut after it’s all figured out behind the scenes. In many of these networks like Clickbank and Shareasale, you can still upload all sorts of marketing materials for your affiliates to use, but you do have less control over who signs up. Plus, there’s more to learn about how it all works than if you set up your own system using SendOwl.
Provide Enough Marketing Collateral
Regardless of how you set up your affiliate program, you must provide plenty of marketing collateral. They need content, graphics, and product information that makes it easier for them to market to their audience.
For example, you can provide editable email marking materials such as an email autoresponder series that educates, informs, and encouraging the audience to buy the product or service is recommended. Then all the affiliate must do is add the series to their autoresponder, substituting their own keywords and phrases into the email messages to make them their own.
Encourage and Motivate Your Affiliates
This part can be harder to do if you use an affiliate network instead of your own affiliate program that adds your affiliates to an exclusive “affiliate” list. However, there are ways to work around this by starting your own groups and making it clear in the system you use that they can join the group to get more marketing information and collateral by doing so.
You can host contests, provide prizes for the highest (or fastest) seller for every launch. You can motivate your affiliates by giving them marketing lessons and step-by-step directions that they can use.
For example, if you’re planning to launch a new information product or course that teaches an audience to start their own affiliate program, what would that include?
Anytime you want to promote something, start providing information to your audience that educates them on the problem you’re going to solve. Start before the course by providing information to your affiliates that this program is coming soon along with content marketing information that they can use to give information to their audience educating them on the topic.
This information enables them to start educating their audience about affiliate marketing before the launch to get them prepared for promoting the course that they’ll soon be offering to their audience.
By building the buzz with your affiliates, and giving them the advance information about the promotion, plus data they can use to educate their own audience, you allow them to start marketing sooner rather than later, thus encouraging even more sales due to how easy you make it for them.
Try to add everything to your program that you’d like to see in the programs you join. Provide high commission, be willing to boost that higher for super-affiliates, and enough marketing information that they can just take that information and start making sales with it. They should not have to do any extra work to promote your products.
Finally, one way that you can use your affiliate program is to invite your competition as well as complimentary creators are in a joint venture. A joint venture partnership is just a short-term venture that you do together for a specific period before you go your separate ways.
For instance, five to ten successful book authors can join to create a conference, and everyone can either sell a joint product or individual products and services or each other’s products and services as an affiliate of one another. This is a great way to share alike audience and make more sales. The main thing to remember if you use joint venture partnerships is to set up the program with concrete guidelines for the participants so that everyone gets fair treatment.
Each JV partner should sign a contract that tells everyone what their responsibility is in terms of the work. For example, if each person is to provide a product that everyone can promote with an affiliate link, say so. Or if everyone must contribute to one product that you all work together to create, say so.
Be specific about what everyone must do, including how many blog posts everyone writes, how many email messages everyone needs to send, and so forth. Depending on the capabilities of each participant, everyone might have a different job.
Maybe one person is responsible for hosting the webinar, and one person is responsible for putting together the information product from each contribution. Play to their strengths. If you are the one planning the joint venture, you can make it up the way you want it, and everyone who wants to participate must agree to the rules to participate.
Running an affiliate program is an excellent way to boost your profits beyond what you can do alone. Having other people promote your products is as good as duplicating yourself. They say that for every five affiliates, you can double your income. Knowing that, why wouldn’t you create an affiliate program if you have digital products to promote?
Now that you’ve read about these three ideas to help you find your customers, engage with them on a new level, as well as start an affiliate program, it’s time to get started. To ensure that you don’t skip anything, begin with perfecting your social media platform profiles and get clear on what you want to accomplish using social media while also getting clear on who your ideal audience is.
Here’s what you need to do based on this guide:
- Create Audience Personas or Avatars – Never skip this. You see it in almost every lesson about finding and working with your audience. There is a reason. You need to know who your audience is and what they really want. Plus, you need to understand their process of deciding to buy.
- Map Your Product Funnel – This process is going to help you identify any gaps in your offerings, whether paid or freebies that help build your list. You can fill in gaps with affiliate products or get ideas for more products to create. If you map your product funnel based on your audience’s buying journey, you’ll be able to see what you offer visually.
- Do Keyword Research – Based on your knowledge of your audience, your products as well as your competition, you’ll need to research keywords. Remember, you want low competition but high-interest keywords and their derivatives.
- Find Your Competitors – You also need to know who your competition is. Who is directly competing with you for the same audience in the same niche? For example, if you’re a creator and seller, who else out there is doing the same thing on the same topic? All other creators and blogger’s aren’t your direct competitors, some just market to your same audience but offer a different type of content.
- Find Complementary Creators – Speaking of people who don’t compete with you, but who offer products within your niche to the same audience you work with, this is a great way to find people who may be interested in joint ventures plus they’re going to offer products you can sell to your audience without competing with yourself.
- Join Affiliate Programs – Once you identify some complementary products and services that you can promote to your audience, join their programs. Start adding their products, especially their evergreen products, to your product funnel to add a new stream of income.
- Start Your Affiliate Program – Once you have a few products of your own to promote, especially if they’re evergreen products, start your affiliate program. Identify the software you’d like to use and get started creating your marketing collateral and promoting the program via social media to your competition and complementary creators.
- Identify Potential JV Partners – Notice your competition and the complementary creators as potential JV partners. Anyone who offers something complementary to the same audience as you are ideal to become a joint venture partner with you.
It’s time to get started optimizing your social media platforms so that you can increase engagement and sales. There is no excuse not to get started right now.